She's Crafty... DIY gifts even we can make!

spectrearts.org

spectrearts.org

Soooo as you may have noticed we are amazing curators, but creators?... Not so much.  We can put together an amazing spread for a party, make that party look tip top, throw on a great outfit or style a room to the nines...but one thing we aren't the best at are DIY crafts.  We are not the Pinterest worthy mamas where every moment is good enough for Instagram, where every room in our house is dialed in and clean with a hand made pillow or DIY floating shelf, where every day off is filled with crafts and art to inspire the masses and where our cookies look like works of art.  But that is not to say we don't love a good DIY gift!  

91abf82ef5fe0c4c04628353ff810e86.jpg

Every holiday season for the last few years my kids and I have made small (simple) gifts for family and friends to help bring back the spirit of gift giving.   I got nervous of it becoming a competition and over spending simply to impress. I felt like the holidays were losing their magic.  I wanted my kids to see the value of gift giving.  That is really IS the thought that counts.  One year we made snow globes from mini mason jars, the next we did animal tassel key chains and then home made spiced cashew milk.  All very simple for little and big hands to make, hard to mess up and filled with love.   So this year got us thinking... whats next?  

Here are a couple of our big hits and possibly this years gift:

1.  Hazelnut spread-  I think this is the one this year...mainly because we can "taste test the heck out of it"

Vegmagazine

Vegmagazine

Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts.
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup.
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder.
  • 1/4 cup filtered water.
  • 2 tablespoons melted virgin coconut oil.
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract.
  • Pinch of Celtic sea salt.
  • Throw all into a blender and you are as good as gold.  Hint* Make an extra batch for yourself.
  • Put into individual mason jars (try not to eat it all)

 

2.  Animal key chains- The big hit.  We made gold with tassels for family/friends and pink for teachers.

Teacher gifts last year.  

Teacher gifts last year.  

What you will need-

Place your animals on a ton of old mail, newspaper outside.  Spray completely on side front and back of the animals.   When dry (a few hours if the air is dry) flip and spray the other side front and back.  Let dry overnight.   Screw the eye hook into the middle of the back of the animal until tight.  Thread keychain ring through eye hook and voila! 

3.  Snow Globes- Not the most useful gift but really fun to make and give

DIY network

DIY network

Here's what you need-

  • Glycerine- This helps the glitter sprinkle down
  • Distilled water- Buy a jug at Target or your local store.  Tap water will cause the globe to rot
  • Small figures, trees, anything you want in your globes (we used sea animals)
  • Glitter- Regular size.  The fine glitter will not work
  • Epoxy- This will secure your figure and lid permanently 

Steps-

  1. Wipe inside of lid with alcohol and let dry
  2. Put epoxy on inside of lid and bottom of figure and press together.  Let dry (follow glue directions for dry time)
  3. When lid is dry (could be over night) fill the jar to the rim with distilled water and some sprinkles of glitter.
  4. Add 4-5 drops of glycerine
  5. Screw lid on tight and watch your globe sparkle

 

If you choose to give or not, do it all with love.  Do it all with intention.  Let's make this season filled with heart and warmth again.  We would love to get more ideas! What else can we make?

xoxo TWH

Schoooools out! A few (easy) activities for you and them (part 1)

Things We Heart creations

Things We Heart creations

Well it's here!  The totally exciting and insanely exhausting summer break!  We can smell it in the air..this electricity from kids everywhere.  Lazy summer nights and adventurous summer days are upon us.  

Sierra Club

Sierra Club

We remember that feeling well.  Like someone unlocking this giant glass door to freedom and fun.  Salty beach hair, golden skin and wet toes awaited us....then ssccreeeeaaachhhhh!  "MOM I WANT TO GO TO THE BEACH EVERYDAY!  IT'S SUMMER!"  That's right moms and dads... their beach dream filled time off is really fun for us but REALLY tiring too!  While most of us can't get to the beach every day or go on month long vacations we can definitely take this special time in their lives to create deeper bonds and have fun at home.  

We came up with 3 simple, fun and easy activities to help those long lazy days at home.  

1. Tie Dye!

Amazon

Amazon

Ok yes this is insanely messy but what is the fun of summer if you can't be covered in dye...right?!?  (no it really is messy but thats what old clothes and garbage bags are for)  Cover your workspace in plastic and get to it!  It's a memory they can wear for a long time!

Things We Heart

Things We Heart

2. Paint a wall with chalkboard paint

TWH bunnies at our own chalkboard wall

TWH bunnies at our own chalkboard wall

We did this years ago and still love it!  Our kids and their friends love to grab sidewalk chalk and spend hours with this wall.  They love seeing their creations on a wall.  If you have one outside better still...give them water blasters or a hose to let them wash it down when they are finished. 

Amazon

Amazon

3. Camp outside

Pinterest

Pinterest

This one could be my favorite!  Whether you have a yard, balcony or patio (even works amazing inside!) set up a pup tent with sleeping bags or blankets and pillows and let loose!  Help them pack up toys and games if they are small and get some easy snacks ready!  They will be out there all day.  If you are lucky enough to be able to sleep out there, even better!  Picnics and sleeping under the stars...easy and dreamy.   Love this fun backyard camping ideas from Buzzfeed!

We love this smores maker for nights like these.  No fire required! 

BBB

BBB

However you spend your summer...make sure you create memories!

Good luck!

xoxo TWH

California Girls

My husband and I spent hours on end playing at the beach both in California & Massachusetts when we were kids, and now our children do. Truth be told, I kind of love little tan kids running around all summer. Somehow, summer captures for me what being a kid really is. Tan, sandy, salty skin... Popsicles melting down your arm.... laughing and splashing in the waves. The point is, my family will always be a beach family. It's who we are and it is ingrained in our souls. My husband loves to surf and sail, I hope our boys will too.

So, the question for us is never going to be, "Do we go to the beach?", the question is, "How do we do it safely?" 

My little tan babies enjoying the sun and sea last summer. 

My little tan babies enjoying the sun and sea last summer. 

California Girls... And I would imagine girls & boys from sunny locals all over the world, grow up constantly exposed to the sun. And while we may all love being a cute tan Gidget... Most of us  (almost all of us) will end up with some sort of sun damage.  

Of course I use tons of sunblock on my kids all day everyday at the beach or the pool. But I will admit to being guilty of not remembering to put it on their faces every day during the school year.

I mean honestly, if they have all have their homework and have brushed their teeth by the time we scramble out the door in the morning, I feel like I should get a trophy. (Still waiting) 

two freckle faces- post dermatologist for mom

two freckle faces- post dermatologist for mom

But, the other day my son tagged along with me to my Dermatologist appointment and was lucky enough to see his mama get her face frozen and sliced all in the name of hoping to prevent some really scary sun damage... While laying on the table I looked over at my sweet son and his adorable freckles and I thought... UGGGHHHH I am the WORST for not being more diligent about sunblock everyday for my boys. EVERY SINGLE DAY. 

Because I didn't always make the best choices about the sun in my life, now in my 30's I can see the years of sun worshiping starting to take a toll on my skin and I don't want that for my kids. I'm not talking wrinkles although that is a HUGE bummer... I am taking serious stuff, scary stuff that can happen if we don't take care of our skin. 

Little Mieke growing up in the sun. Note the lotion. 

Little Mieke growing up in the sun. Note the lotion. 

For all of us that grew up in the sun... Here are a few things for all of us to think about. 

There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are less serious types and make up 95% of all skin cancers. Also referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers, they are highly curable when treated early.

Melanoma, made up of abnormal skin pigment cells called melanocytes, is the most serious form of skin cancer and causes 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Left untreated, it can spread to other organs and is difficult to control. (From MedicineNet.com) 

So lets break down those three types of skin cancer so that we can get a clear picture of what each one would mean to us. 

1. Basal cell carcinoma- This is the most common type of skin cancer... With more then 2 million cases being diagnosed in America each year. 

This skin cancer usually develops on skin that gets sun exposure, such as on the head, neck, and back of the hands. BCC is especially common on the face, often forming on the nose. It is possible to get BCC on any part of the body, including the trunk, legs, and arms. Oh and don't forget the ears! Our ears get sun all the time and we often forget to put sun block on them. 

You may be familiar with this type of skin cancer because Hugh Jackman has been working to draw public attention to BCC and raise awareness since he has had to have numerous spots removed. 

Another scary aspect of BCC is that they are very hard to see and so you can miss discovering it for quite a while. 

2.  Squamous cell carcinoma- With 700,000 cases a year in the States, SCC is the second most common skin cancer. This is a cancer that develops in the thin, flat squamous cells that make up the outer layer of the skin. SCCs often look like scaly red patches, open sores, elevated growths with a central depression, or warts; they may crust or bleed.

This skin cancer tends to develop on skin that has been exposed to the sun for years. It is most frequently seen on sun-exposed areas, such as the head, neck, and back of the hands. Women frequently get SCC on their lower legs. 

It is possible to get SCC on any part of the body, including the inside of the mouth, lips, and genitals. Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is usually not life-threatening, though it can be aggressive in some cases. Untreated, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin can grow large or spread to other parts of your body, causing serious complications.

3. Melanoma - The most serious type of skin cancer, develops in the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin — the pigment that gives your skin its color. Melanoma can also form in your eyes and, rarely, in internal organs, such as your intestines.

Moles, brown spots and growths on the skin are usually harmless — but not always. Anyone who has more than 100 moles is at greater risk for melanoma. The first signs can appear in one or more atypical moles. That's why it's so important to get to know your skin very well and to recognize any changes in the moles on your body. Look for the ABCDE signs of melanoma, and if you see one or more, make an appointment with a physician immediately.

The exact cause of all melanomas isn't clear, but exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or tanning lamps and beds increases your risk of developing melanoma. Limiting your exposure to UV radiation can help reduce your risk of melanoma.

SOOO after reading all that information  the take away is that prolonged exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the number one cause of skin cancer, but UV light from tanning beds is just as harmful. So tan from a can it will have to be if you want to stay gold. 

Thank heavens for huge Lifeguard hats

Thank heavens for huge Lifeguard hats

We all need to really think about what we are doing to our bodies. 

We need to be diligent about our hats, glasses and rash guards. We need to limit our hours of exposure and set up camp under umbrellas at the beach. We need to be diligent about applying sunscreen to ourselves and our kids... I know sometimes we are so rushed to get the kids covered we forget ourselves and our partners. 

Looks like all of us Gidgets have to take a cue from Larue! Did you know there is a right way to apply sunscreen and a wrong way? Here are the rules from the American Academy of Dermatology. 

Follow these tips from dermatologists when applying sunscreen:

  1. Choose a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher, is water resistant, and provides broad-spectrum coverage, which means it protects you from UVA and UVB rays. Follow these helpful tips when selecting a sunscreen.

  2. Apply sunscreen generously before going outdoors. It takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. If you wait until you are in the sun to apply sunscreen, your skin is unprotected and can burn.

  3. Use enough sunscreen. Most adults need at least one ounce of sunscreen, about the amount you can hold in your palm, to fully cover all exposed areas of your body. Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin.

  4. Apply sunscreen to all bare skin. Remember your neck, face, ears, tops of your feet and legs. For hard‐to‐reach areas like your back, ask someone to help you or use a spray sunscreen. If you have thinning hair, either apply sunscreen to your scalp or wear a wide‐brimmed hat. To protect your lips, apply a lip balm with a SPF of at least 15.

  5. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours to remain protected, or immediately after swimming or excessively sweating. People who get sunburned usually didn't use enough sunscreen, didn't reapply it after being in the sun, or used an expired product. Your skin is exposed to the sun's harmful UV rays every time you go outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter. So whether you are on vacation or taking a brisk fall walk in your neighborhood, remember to use sunscreen.

Here are some amazing tips from Things We Heart on what brands of Sunscreens we recommend

What to look for-  You want a Physical Sunscreen and not a Chemical one.  Look for Zinc and/or Titanium Dioxide only in the list of active ingredients.  Physical sunscreens (100% mineral based) actually block the suns harmful rays, while a Chemical one absorbs the rays and chemically alter them.  The chemicals also mimic hormones in your bodies and can disrupt growth, metabolism and reproduction

Exposure to sunlight during the winter months puts you at the same risk as exposure during the summertime. So it is important to remember to put sunblock on our kids faces every single day.. Because those cute sweet freckles today are tomorrows headache for your kids. 

Most importantly, and we can not stress this enough, is to find a Dermatologist that you trust and have regular checkups. 

Did you know you should be giving yourself and your kids a skin check every month? That way you are aware of when things are changing or becoming worrisome.

Here is how you do it! 

If you have made it to the end of this, thank you for reading we know it was a lot of information, but we feel it is so important to raise awareness about skin cancer and sun damage. Both of us have had to have little weird spots snipped off and so many of our friends these days are talking about it and going through the same experience. If you grew up in the sun and are now paying the price, rest assured, you are not alone. 

XOXO- TWH





Take a sick day...with them!

'Tis the season.  The season of sniffles and sick.  Of sleepless nights and warm bodied cuddles.  It is also the season of staying home from school and LOTS of TV.  

Sick day TV-athon in the guestroom. 

Sick day TV-athon in the guestroom. 

We both have the same thinking...when they are sick let them do exactly what we dream we could do at the end of every day...veg out, relax, eat and sleep.  But oddly enough they get bored of hours of Disney JR and Netflix.  Sounds crazy...right?  But their beautiful brains (thankfully) need more stimuli than just loud crazy images.  They need creativity, imagination and thought...even when sick!  

Lego time- Those small fun packs are perfect for storing for a sick day

Lego time- Those small fun packs are perfect for storing for a sick day

Now, this is not saying you should force them to do activities and push them when they are in bad shape but when it's day 2 and they are on the mend from the flu and a 24 hour marathon of PJ Masks or Aquabats has turned into 48 hours a little mom/dad help towards a mellow and creative new activity isn't so bad for them.

4 (mellow new and fun) activities for that looming sick day.

1. Make a Book- Grab a few pieces of paper from your printer, fold in half, and staple the center spine....voila!  A book!  Let them illustrate and write their own story. And for the littles that can't write, they can dictate the story to you while you write it under their drawings.

IMG_8532.JPG

2. DIY Playdoh- The best!  It does take a little cooking (only a few minutes) but they can help you create any color they want and even help you knead the colors in.  Add kid safe glitter and a little vanilla extract for extra excitement. You can also call it "clay" for the older ones who insist playdoh is for babies.

Homemade play dough- not by us but we do make it!  -Pinterest

Homemade play dough- not by us but we do make it!  -Pinterest

Colored Playdough

Materials

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • Food coloring
  • Saucepan
  • 1 cup flour

Directions

  1. Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until warm.
  2. Remove from heat and add flour.
  3. Stir, then knead until smooth. The cream of tartar makes this dough last 6 months or longer, so resist the temptation to omit this ingredient if you don't have it on hand.
  4. Store this dough in an airtight container or a Ziploc freezer bag.

3. On Hand Science Boxes-  While strolling through the art isles at your local Target (or Amazon), pick up a few science themed boxes for a rainy day.  They are inexpensive, easy, engaging and really fun!

4. Cooking-  A great way to get them interested in eating if they do it themselves.  Grab a kid friendly knife, a bowl, whisk and a cutting board and let them chop and mix up anything you have.  (Just no helping by the stove)  We often let them come up with their own recipes.  They love to experiment with different ingredients and see how it tastes.  

Kids love to cook...let them mix anything they want together and see what happens when you cook it!

Kids love to cook...let them mix anything they want together and see what happens when you cook it!

We also always have markers and paint/brushes on hand with big art pads (also from Target) for art projects...those are always a good distraction from a Flu. Turn one wall in their room or yours for their creations!  Aaron Brothers has a good Buy One Get One on frames and their masterpieces can look even better in a simple gallery frame.

Love the all white frames!  Pinterest

Love the all white frames!  Pinterest

How ever you choose to let them spend their sick days...we hope you get in tons of stolen snuggles and kisses.  The only silver lining...they are too tired to run away :)

taking-a-sick-day.jpg

xoxo TWH